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Christmas Memories
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By Nancy McSloy

The celebration of Christmas is deeply woven into the fabric of family life, often including the most precious childhood memories and traditions handed down from generations past. To some it is moments of joy from Christmas’ past, while others eagerly anticipate Christmas present and future. For some, it is a bah-humbug time, or a lonely time to be endured.

For me there is no such thing as too much Christmas. Growing up on a farm on the Bruce Peninsula, Christmas was a time of family and fellowship. It was coming home from school to the homey aroma of rich, spicy baking. There were Christmas concerts at school and church and of course many family gatherings.

When I moved to London in the early 1970's, I couldn't imagine Christmas in "the city." My opinion changed when the Santa Claus Parade started at Argyle Mall and headed west past my house. I learned about the Christmas Bus and how an LTC employee had decorated a bus for Christmas in the early 1950's and the tradition still lives on. The church service on Christmas Eve fast became a family tradition.

Visions of stores such as Hudsons, The Met and other shops in Old East decked out in their Christmas finery, bustling with shoppers are still vivid. Continuing toward downtown were many more shops decorated and full of Christmas shoppers. At the corner of Dundas and Richmond the window at Simpsons was a showcase of animated figures busily preparing for Christmas. What a fantasy land for "kids" of all ages.

Visits to Covent Market, and walks through Victoria Park were a part of my first Christmas in London and still are, but now the grandchildren join us.

Today we have even more cultures and traditions in our midst. As we await the child in the manger let's all pause for a minute and reflect on good times and wish peace to everyone, not just at Christmas but continuing on throughout the New Year.